Paul Auster: Hand to Mouth

I found Paul Auster’s Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure from the Pasila library. I hadn’t heard of Auster before. I didn’t connect him with the New York Trilogy, which I had heard good things about. I admit it: I was drawn to the book because it told about a young, struggling writer.

The first third of Hand to Mouth is a memoir of Auster’s first ten or so “years of failure.” The rest of the book is made up of three plays, a hard-boiled detective novel, and a baseball simulating card game that Auster had devised and, at a financial low point, had hoped to sell.

While I enjoyed Hand to Mouth, it didn’t set any fires under me to go out and explore other works of his. His plays reminded me of Samuel Beckett. One of them, about two men in an office and a detective who followed a writer who wrote about a man following him, I really liked. This article in the New York Times says there’s more of what I liked in Auster’s books. Salon also has a nice profile.